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In order to help you pronounce Welsh words correctly, here is a guide to the Welsh alphabet. Note that there are a couple cases where a Welsh "letter" is actually made up of two characters (e.g., "ch", "dd", etc). So when you're next doing a Welsh crossword puzzle, remember that these double character letters fit into one box.

Yr Wyddor Gymraeg / The Welsh Alphabet

Letter   Sound

a   short: "a" as in "ham", e.g., "mam" long: "a" as in "hard", e.g., "tad"

b   as in "boy", e.g., "bara"

c   as in "cat" (never the "s" sound as in "cent"), e.g., "cant"

ch   a non-English sound as in Scottish "ch" in "loch", e.g., "bach"

d   as in "dog", e.g., "dros"

dd   "th" (voiced) as in "the" (never the voiceless "th" sound as in "thin, e.g., "bedd"

e   short: "e" as in "then", e.g., "pen"
long: similar to "e" in "then spoken in a southern drawl, e.g., "hen"

f   as in "of", e.g., "afal"

ff   as in "off", e.g., "ffŵl"

g   as in "god", e.g., "glan"

ng   as in "long", e.g., "ing"

h   as in "hat", e.g., "hen"

i   short: "i" as in "sit", e.g., "inc"
long: "ee" as in "seen", e.g., "hir"

j   as in "jam", e.g., "jar"

l   as in "lamp", e.g., "lol"

ll   an aspirated 'l' which does not occur in English, sounded by placing the tongue so as to say 'l' and hissing out of one side of the mouth, e.g., "llan"

m   as in "man", e.g., "mab"

n   as in "name", e.g., "nos"

o   short: "o" as in "gone", e.g., "llon"
long: as in "more", e.g., "to"

p   as in "pet", e.g., "pen"

ph   an aspirated 'p' occurring only as a mutated form, sounded as in "graph", e.g., "tri phen"

r   as in "rat", e.g., "caru"

rh   an aspirated 'r' which does not occur in English; the difference between 'rh' and 'r' is similar to that betwen 'wh' and 'w' in "when" and "went", e.g., "rhan"

s   as in "sit", e.g., "sant"

t   as in "top", e.g., "tan"

th   as in "thin", e.g., "cath"

u   short: as in "sit", e.g., "sut"
long: as in "seen", e.g., "un"

w   as in "wind", e.g., "wedi"
short: as in "look", e.g., "cŵm"
long: as in "fool", e.g., "mwg"

y   short: as in "sit", e.g., "cyn" (clear sound)
short: as in "gun", e.g., "yn" (obscure sound)
long: as in "seen", e.g., "dyn" (clear sound)


  1. There are no 'k' and 'q' in Welsh and 'y' is a vowel
  2. Some language specialists do not consider "j" to be part of the Welsh alphabet. This being said, there are a number of words used in Welsh (such as "jam" and "garej") that use the letter "j" while most dictionaries contain a section for Welsh words beginning with the letter "j."
  3. There is no 'z' in Welsh, but the sound occurs in some borrowed words, in which case it is represented by 's', e.g., "sw"
  4. Two consonants, 'n' and 'r', are sometimes doubled in written Welsh, e.g., "tynnu," "torri." Note that 'dd,' 'ff' and 'll' are not doubled, but are consonants in their own right.
  5. When 'f' occurs at the end of words it is frequently silent, e.g., "ara" for "araf", but it is not incorrect to sound it.
  6. A vowel is sometimes interposed between pairs of consonants at the end of words, e.g., "llyfyr" for "llyfr" and "cefen" for "cefn."
  7. All vowels except 'y' have two sound only.
  8. Sometimes the long vowel is marked by a circumflex, e.g., "cân" or "pêl"
  9. Apart from the obscure sound of 'y', 'i', 'u' and 'y' are pronounced in essentially the same way in South Wales. There are, however, differences between the three in North Wales.
  10. The rules for the pronunciation of 'y' are as follows"
    • Words of one syllable: The obscure sound occurs in a small group of words, e.g., "dy," "fy," "y," "yr," but otherwise the sound is clear. It may be short as in "mynd" or long as in "byd." Unless a circumflex is used (e.g., "ty^") there is no way of distinguishing the two cases
    • Words of more than one syllable: In all syllables except the last, the sound is obscure, e.g., "byddaf." In the last syllable the sound is clear. It is short if the syllable ends in a consonant, e.g., "gelyn,", and long when no consonant follows, e.g., "gwely." Note that the obscure and open sounds can occur in the same word, e.g., "mynydd," "Cymry"
  11. The diaresis is sometimes used to indicate that a vowel must be sounded separately, e.g., "gweddïo"